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BZA MEETING MINUTES THURSDAY May 15, 2014

The White County Area Board of Zoning Appeals met on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Second Floor, White County Government Building, Monticello, Indiana.

Members attending were: Carl Hites, Dennis Sterrett, Randy Conwell and Richard Holmes. Absent: Attorney Abigail Diener and Dave Rosenbarger. Also attending were Director Joseph Rogers and Secretary Jennifer Hill.

Visitors attending were: Jason Simala, Larry Norris, Harold & Carolyn Haygood, David Blount, Dante Deno and Dennis & Diane Simala.

(The meeting was started before the recording was started.)

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Variance Petition #2895: Jason & Jill Simala; 3074 E. Kozy Kove, Monon, IN 47959

Executive Director Rogers reviewed photographs of the site to provide the Board and audience with visual depictions of the site and surrounding area. Executive Rogers introduced the Staff Report and associated documents into the record then provided a review of the application petition and factors pertaining to the site and petition. Executive Director Rogers indicated that the office had not received any phone communications related to this variance request, either in favor of or against. The only communications received by the office were the citizen’s letters and citizen petition included as part of the information packet the Board Members received in advance of the hearing, all of which reflected favorably on the request.

The subject property lies within what is called Kozy Kove subdivision. The subdivision was platted in 1928. Director Rogers found no indication of setbacks, covenants or restrictions applicable to this subdivision. This lot was platted as a 60’ X 90’ lot. The lot increased in size to 60’ X 110’ when a roadway was vacated in 1976 as indicated on the survey. The lot is considered grandfathered for lot width and area; and what I mean by that is any subdivision that is platted and recorded by state statute is grandfathered for area and width so we don’t take that into consideration as far as the office is concerned when someone brings in a site plan for consideration, but they do have to meet current setbacks. The lot does meet the current developmental standards for width at 60’; it does not meet the standard for area which would be 10,000 square feet. The surrounding area is littered with homes which, by appearance, have been located in close proximity to side property lines and, as I said earlier, the Assessor’s cards indicate that virtually all the dwellings in the immediate area were built between 1928 & 1945. It is my understanding that the intention or desire is to remove the current structure and build a new structure and garage. It’s the layout of that structure and garage that have resulted in the variance requests. The applicant is requesting two variances, both relative to side setbacks. Current requirement for a side setback is 10’. He is asking to be 5’ on one side and 5.7’ on the other side.

Chairman Holmes advised the applicant that there are 4 Board Members present, one shy of a full Board. The applicant has the option to be heard by this Board or request a continuance to the next meeting. The applicant elected to be heard by the 4 member Board. Chairman Holmes also asked the applicant if he would like the Board to consider each side variance request independently or together. The applicant requested the variances be considered together.

Dante Deno, Deno Construction spoke on behalf of the applicant. He is the contractor hired to build the proposed home. Mr. Deno explained the difficulty of laying out a typical home floor plan without side setback relief. The main difficulty is related to rain water drainage issues created by the topography of the land causing difficulty if placing a garage to south side (rear) of the house. Mr. Deno then fielded a series of questions from the Board including questions of clarification of the requests, of site conditions and consideration of other development options for the property. Carl Hites moved to consider the variance request followed by a Denny Sterrett second.

Executive Director Rogers explained that it takes 3 votes in favor for the variance to be granted and 3 against to deny, it if comes to a 2-2 tie it will be continued to the next meeting.

Result: 4 votes cast; 3 grant; 1 deny; Petition is granted.

Variance Petition #2896 Larry & Lucille Norris; 221 S. Railroad, Monticello, IN 47960

Executive Director Rogers reviewed photographs of the site to provide the Board and audience with visual depictions of the site and surrounding area. Executive Rogers introduced the Staff Report and associated documents into the record then provided a review of the application petition and factors pertaining to the site and petition. Executive Director Rogers indicated that the office had not received any phone communications related to this variance request, either in favor of or against.

The lot in question is in the Walker Reynolds Jenners addition, in the city of Monticello. The properties surrounding the subject parcel are zoned R-2, single and two family residential. The baseline (original) zoning for the subject lot was R-2. The property was rezoned to B-1, Retail Business District, in 1976, rezone file #128. The site was initially established as a lot within a residential district comprised of R-2 zoning districts. In 1976, IOOF Lodge # 107 was granted a rezone of the property from R-2 to B-1 to allow the placement of a lodge at the site. At the time, the `72 ordinance was in place and you were required to have a B-1 Neighborhood Business Designation in order to have a lodge on a site, so that’s why the rezone was requested and granted. I can find no record of that construction ever taking place. There is a concrete pad on the lot which has existed since at least 1960 (per the Assessor’s Office). The Assessor could find no record of an actual structure assigned to that lot. I asked the Assessor to go back into their records and see if they could indicate to me whether they ever showed there being a structure on that lot and they could not. So, again, at the time of the rezone filing, a B-1 district was required for a meeting hall for a fraternal organization. In today’s ordinance, a lodge would be allowed in an R-2 zoning district. The parcel measures 51’ X 132’, I gave you this information prior to the submission of the survey which you received at the beginning of this meeting, not as part of the packet. That survey is now submitted as part of the evidence and will be considered in our development of findings of fact. The lot measures 51’ wide and carries an area of 6,732 square feet which does not meet the current developmental standards for an R-2 residential district (60’ width and 10,000 square feet.) But again, I would like to emphasize according to statue, we grandfather a lot that is preexisting to zoning ordinance for area and width, but they do have to meet setback standards or receive a variance. The lot does meet the developmental standards for a B-1 business district (50’ width and 5,000 square feet), but is not located in an area currently intended for B-1 zoning districts. The 2008 zoning ordinance was passed with the intention of confining B-1 districts to the downtown areas, like the Wells Fargo Bank across the street, Cazadora’s, this kind of congested downtown area and it was designed so a building could be built out to the front property line. There’s no front setback for properties assigned a B-1 zoning district. One of the issues that our office has with the current zoning status is that if the zoning is not changed to residential and someone wanted to put a building on the lot he or she would be allowed to go right out to the property line with his building on both Jefferson St. and Railroad St. Our office doesn’t consider that a desirable situation. Since the parcel is a corner lot it is burdened with two fronts which will require any developer to comply with 2 front setback requirements. So, whereas, in a B-1 that doesn’t make a difference in an R-2 it does because they have a 30’ setback and they have to meet that setback on both street fronts. After the application of setbacks, a buildable area of 11’ by 72’ is left over; this assumes an R-2 district. The applicant has petitioned for a rezone which was heard on May 12th, File #1020 by the Area Plan Commission. This rezone petition was sent to the City of Monticello with a favorable recommendation and will be considered at the May 19th City Council meeting. So, the issues that we have with the B-1 go away but the rezone doesn’t assist in allowing development on this lot and so a variance is being requested as a result.

After some discussion about whether or not there should be a motion made that the granting of this variance be conditional on the rezone being approved by the City of Monticello, the motion was made by Denny Sterrett followed by a second from Randy Conwell. The motion carried unanimously and provides that the variance, if approved tonight, will be void if the rezone is not granted by the City.

Larry Norris spoke as land owner and builder. Mr. Norris explained the difficulty of laying out a typical home floor plan without front setback relief. The main difficulty is related to the small building area available after allowance of the current setback standards. Mr. Norris then fielded a series of questions from the Board. One concern brought up by Executive Director Rogers was that a variance is generally site specific and wanted to know if the footprint was finalized. Mr. Norris said that the buyer may want to go smaller if that wasn’t a problem, but would not go any larger on the footprint. Carl Hites made a motion to vote on Variance #2896 followed by a second from Denny Sterrett.

Result: 4 votes cast; 4 grant; 0 deny; Petition is granted.

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Executive Director Rogers brought up one miscellaneous piece of business. In reference to the Special BZA Meeting on June 26, 2014 at 6:00pm., this is an appeal to an interpretation that he made. He advised the Board that if there were any questions regarding this they should contact Abigail Diener directly.

Randy Conwell made a motion that the meeting be adjourned; with a second by Carl Hites the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,

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Jennifer Hill, Secretary Executive Director Joseph W. Rogers